A Boy Named Charlie Brown appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. While not terrible, the transfer suffered from a variety of flaws.
Most of the concerns resulted from print defects. Few parts of the movie passed unaffected, as the movie showed quite a few specks, marks, grit, blotches, lines and scratches. I thought it became a bit cleaner as it progressed, but the result remained messy.
Sharpness usually seemed fine. While I couldn’t refer to this as a tight presentation, it showed more than acceptable delineation most of the time,
No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects appeared, and I saw no edge haloes. Grain was decent, so I didn’t suspect issues with noise reduction.
Colors varied, partly due to the grain and general messiness of the print. At times the hues popped, but they also felt drab at times – again, as a result of the issues with the source.
Blacks were acceptably dark and dense, and shadows seemed decent. With some clean-up, this would become an enjoyable presentation, but all the print defects became an issue.
On the other hand, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of A Boy Named Charlie Brown worked pretty well – at least given the age and ambitions of the material. The soundfield opened up to a surprising degree, as the mix seemed consistently broad.
Localized speech occasionally came from the sides, and effects were placed accurately. Movement was perfectly decent as well.
Stereo imaging for the music was unexceptional, though. The score and songs spread to the sides without much real definition. I wouldn’t call it “broad mono” but I didn’t detect any particular clarity to the placement of the instruments. The surrounds acted to reinforce music and effects to a minor degree and that was it.
Audio quality remained decent. Speech could be slightly flat, but the lines were consistently intelligible and lacked any edginess.
Music also sometimes suffered from lackluster high-end, as the tunes and score seemed a little muted. Nonetheless, they were acceptable concise, and bass response was surprisingly good.
Effects sounded more than acceptable, as they showed good clarity and passable depth. This was a pretty nice little soundtrack for an older film.
How did this Blu-Ray compare with the 2011 DVD? Audio felt similar, though the lossless mix seemed a bit clearer than its lossy predecessor.
As for visuals, the Blu-ray benefited from the format’s superior capabilities, so it came with stronger definition and colors. Unfortunately, both DVD and BD suffered from copious print flaws, and those restricted improvements on the Blu-ray.
Note than the DVD went with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio – which oddly opted for 1.66:1 during the movie’s credits – whereas the Blu-ray gave us 1.33:1. I have no idea which should be considered “correct”, and I can conjure arguments for each as the better option. I doubt the 1.33:1 compromises the source, but I also doubt the movie ran theatrically at 1.33:1, as those dimensions wouldn’t have been common in 1969.
Expect zero extras here. Not even a trailer makes an appearance on this barebones release.
As one who grew up with Peanuts TV specials and movies, I may not be the most objective judge of A Boy Named Charlie Brown. The fact I still adore the comic strips and remember the other pieces fondly makes me biased, but I think even when I try to view things objectively, Boy works. The Blu-ray offers pretty good audio with subpar visuals and no bonus materials. I like the movie but the Blu-ray needs an upgrade.
To rate this film, visit the original review of A BOY NAMED CHARLIE BROWN